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A good read on the history and follies of modern bathrooms

 
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Location: union Maine
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I really like the idea of the Japanese shower/bath combo. I think I will incorporate it into the design of my new tiny house.....
I have lived in the UK and Ireland before and built a couple of houses that used sliding doors to separate the bathtub from the toilet and both from the sink area. It works really well in a small house full of people because some one can use the toilet while another bathes and someone else....if necessary...does their hair/brushes teeth, etc.... Wish I had the room in the first house I built to do all of that because with 7 of us and two bathrooms it always seemed like only one ever got used.... Then in the last place I owned two bathrooms and still not enough toilet/shower space..... So glad to not be in that situation anymore, and looking forward to having the luxury to do it right this time!
 
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Location: Fairmont, WV
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Thoroughly enjoyed this read. Thanks so much.
 
steward
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If the loo has a tiny sink (I've seen toilets that incorporate a little sink above the tank, the waste water goes towards filling the tank and the next flush) then it's a wonderful thing.  Some "water closets" in old apartments in London have simply a toilet, no sink.  I always wondered how to wash my hands in those.  

I look forward to a world with a lot more composting toilets.  It's insane to turn fossil fuels into fertilizer while simultaneously spending millions to try to decontaminate human waste.  

I've always imagined my daughter as an old crone, telling the little 22nd century kids "When I was a little child, we used to flush our toilets with drinkin' water!!"
 
Posts: 61
Location: Central, Eastish Missouri, St Robert in Pulaski Co. was in SE Michigan, South of Detroit, Suburbian
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I like what Julia Winter said about her grand daughter telling her daughter,  "When I was a little child, we used to flush our toilets with drinkin' water!!" Reminded me of the walking to school line.

Anyway this was a most interesting thread. I also liked the article

What got my interest though was that this is where I heard about sawdust being used to trap urine and keep it from smelling so it could be composted or as it composted in the 5 gallon bucket for a year. Not recalling how that went just now but you get the idea, I hope.
 
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An interesting article.  It makes lots of sense to separate the shower/tub from the toilet.  There is already a move in house design to separate the beautification center (sink and mirror).  I know in my house, with lots of females, it seems like the mirror/sink is used much more (or at least longer) than the other facilities.  Seems like just before bed and first thing in the morning there is always more demand than supply.  I am prone to an aching back, which nothing helps more than a long, hot soak.  

The sensibility of breaking apart the black water from the grey water is a given in permaculture design.  I am still looking at options for a composting toilet for our next house that will come as close as possible to matching the ease and cost of ordinary indoor plumbing.  There are several intriguing ideas.  The willow house is really just a permaculture improvement on a standard old outhouse (as viewed by the user).  I've gone that route too many times in bad weather (-50 degrees is a real challenge) to be enthralled with that option.  I am actually leaning toward the sawdust/ 5 gallon bucket method (putting it aside to compost in the bucket for a few years before it's put on the ground somewhere).  My wife is not enthusiastic with this part of permaculture, but she's willing to try things out and I think a little experimentation might just find it solves several problems for us.

Breaking the standard issue bathroom into three adjacent rooms makes sense although it will probably take some extra floor space because the three functions share common standing space in most bathrooms.  The smaller rooms might amplify moisture buildup problems, especially in the shower/bath room.  In an ideal/dry climate I might just open a window or put the shower room outside.  Not practical when it's below zero.

A good ventilation system is the key to prevent mold problems.  In my house it seems like someone always takes a hot shower/bath, shuts the door and traps the moisture.  Yes, I know it's a training problem, but I have a idea that may help.  Old hotels/ houses sometimes had a normally open, tilt down window (maybe painted for greater privacy) above interior doors (I assume to allow free air movement while preserving privacy).  Something like that, left open would go a long way to preventing moisture buildup.  For the toilet, there may be a mechanism to close the window if things got too fragrant.  

Any opinions on that?
 
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Mick Fisch wrote:

The sensibility of breaking apart the black water from the grey water is a given in permaculture design.  I am still looking at options for a composting toilet for our next house that will come as close as possible to matching the ease and cost of ordinary indoor plumbing.  There are several intriguing ideas.  The willow house is really just a permaculture improvement on a standard old outhouse (as viewed by the user).  I've gone that route too many times in bad weather (-50 degrees is a real challenge) to be enthralled with that option.  I am actually leaning toward the sawdust/ 5 gallon bucket method (putting it aside to compost in the bucket for a few years before it's put on the ground somewhere).  My wife is not enthusiastic with this part of permaculture, but she's willing to try things out and I think a little experimentation might just find it solves several problems for us.




Inhouse vermicomposting is the future I think. No enforced ventilation needed  to the outside. No need to add sawdust, leaves or woodchips. But you have to separate urine. Urine could be drained into the greywater system or into a straw(leaves,paper,sawdust)-filled container which is located in the outside.

The result? For a single person, you get 40 ltr of compost (10 gal. ca.) per year, which you have to remove.  It's nothing in comparison with Jenkin's method.
 
pollinator
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I think redundancy in toilet options might be a strategy - outhouse/willow house for good weather, bucket system for bad weather.  Possibly retain flush toilet for the family member who hates the other options.  This could even be a worm flush toilet so as not to lose that fertility.

There's no rule there has to be just one toilet!

 
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Mick, pails of compostable material do not compost in the pail itself oddly enough, the conditions are not right. With an vented lid I suppose some type of positive change would happen but based on my experience with shorter term storage, three months, a closed pail gets worse not better. The Jenkins system requires a change of venue for the material, whether it goes into a compost pile, a vermiculture environment or into some sort of composting vented container.
 
Mick Fisch
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This string got me thinking a little more.  Found a vermiculture string on permies that mentioned this website.  

http://www.wormfarm.com.au/

Looks like a winner to me!  basically, it's like a septic tank, only aerated and set up for worms.  The drain field takes away the excess fluids.  Routing the drainage lines to willow or mint or nettle patches (to use up the nitrogen) which would then be cut and used as mulch or something else non dietary.  It would make my wife happy, me happy and the plants and little worms happy.  
 
Christoph Mertens
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Mick Fisch wrote:This string got me thinking a little more.  Found a vermiculture string on permies that mentioned this website.  

http://www.wormfarm.com.au/

Looks like a winner to me!  



there are way cheaper solutions available.

http://www.permaculture.co.uk/readers-solutions/how-make-vermicomposting-flush-toilet

You should keep greywater and blackwater lines separate. The blackwater goes into the "poofilter".
 
Mick Fisch
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Thanks, Christoph.  I saw that article also.  

Being a do-it-yourselfer (partly from economic necessity, partly because it's more fun), I figured on a home made version, which is pretty much what you article is describing.  The possibilities are endless!
 
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